After sustaining injuries during surgery performed by a robot, a patient has died, with the woman’s death being attributed to an error on the part of the robot in a recently-filed lawsuit.
The colon cancer patient, a woman from Florida, was admitted to Baptist Health Boca Baton Regional Hospital in 2021. According to the lawsuit, the robot burned a hole in the woman’s small intestines during surgery.
The documentation was obtained by Huffington Post, but did not name the hospital as a defendant in the civil case. Instead, it named Intuitive Surgical Inc., the maker of the robot.
The lawsuit has alleged that Intuitive Surgical was aware of insulation issues with the robot. These allegedly caused electricity leakage into the patient’s body, leading to the burns.
The document likewise said that the manufacturer failed to inform both the hospital and surgical staff on the matter.
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“The injury suffered by Mrs. Sultzer caused her pain and emotional distress,” the lawsuit said. “Mrs. Sultzer incurred expense of medical care, hospitalisation, treatment, nursing care and treatment and the expense of rehabilitative care and treatment.”
Sultzer died in February 2022, with the lawsuit naming the cause of death as a “direct and proximate result of the injuries she suffered” from the surgical robot.
“Had ISI safely designed its product so that stray electrical energy would not burn the insides of patients without the knowledge or control of the operating surgeons, the small intestine injury to Mrs. Sultzer would not have happened, and she would not have died,” according to the suit.
Further allegations of the lawsuit include that Intuitive Surgical has received thousands of reports citing “dangerous injuries,” including internal organ burns, resulting from electrical discharge from the robot.
Several liability lawsuits from across the USA have named the company as causing injuries or deaths in patients, a recent Securities and Exchange Commission report has revealed. Trial dates for these cases are scheduled for later in 2024.